Category: To the movies (Page 2 of 6)
‘Tis the season for the great American blockbuster movies. I always look forward to this with a due sense of exhaustion and dread, as Blackadder would say. When they rock, they really rock (Inception in 2010). And when they suck, they really suck (this year’s Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides).
Next year brings yet another Nolan blockbuster. Warner Bros are already rolling out the hype, and as usual the campaign seems to be an aesthetic feast of anticipation:
Being fans of Darren Aronofsky’s work, we’re anxiously awaiting the opening of his latest feature Black Swan. Like Aronofsky’s previous films, this was also shot by his DP Matthew Libatique.
American Cinematographer brings a very interesting interview with Libatique in their latest issue. This time around the talented DP decided to bring out the Canon 7D to shoot some of the scenes, in addition to the Super 16 and Arri cameras.
Libatique on working with the 7D:
The 7D has more depth of field than the 5D, but I needed that because I didn’t have a follow-focus unit and needed to work really fast. I shot everything documentary-style. I did all the focus pulls by hand, and we’d just look at it on the camera’s monitor. I ended up shooting on a Canon 24mm lens at 1,600 ASA to get as much depth of field as possible at a stop of T81⁄2.
We lived in farms, then we lived in cities, and now we’re gonna live on the internet!
– Sean Parker in The Social Network
More than a decade has passed since director David Fincher polarized audiences and critics with Fight Club. Some saw the movie as a brilliant satire summing up the zeitgeist of the late nineties. Others saw it as a cold and cynical excercise in nihilism.
In the time that has passed Fincher has established himself as a filmmaker with a unique vision. We quickly forgave him the clumsy Panic Room, when he returned to give us the excellent Zodiac, later followed by a warm and humanistic Benjamin Button.
This year’s Fincher film is The Social Network, a story about the founding of Facebook. And the reason I started by mentioning Fight Club is that I see this movie as somewhat related. Not in form and genre, but in holding a mirror up to our time and giving the present a good kick in the nuts.
A film about Facebook? At first you might think it’s a lame idea. But Fincher and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin saw that this story needed to be told. 500 million people are on Facebook. The phenomena clearly needs to be studied and become the subject of art.
The story follows Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook, through the few years that have passed since the idea was born. Fincher sets up a pace and rhythm that leads the viewer effortlessly along, from dorm rooms to bars to glass-walled law-firm offices. His cast deliver focused and compelling characters, never letting anyone become pure hero or villain. Fincher shoots digitally, this time with a new RED camera, and the HD images are immaculate. The color palette is easily recognizable, as in Zodiac and Benjamin Button, with warm, yellowish highlights and low key lighting that never loses detail even in the shadows.
Besides being a technical masterpiece, the film also delivers on subject and theme. These days the news are dominated by Wikileaks, and, here in Norway, the controversial Data Retention Directive. Information control no longer exists. What does that do to our right to privacy? How can we legislate bits and bytes? Can societies handle these enormous overnight changes?
The Social Network is a piece of film art that intelligently comments on all this. Not in an overt and preachy way. But by telling a focused and fast paced story about a phenomenon that went from non-existing to universal at lightspeed. Computer geeks can change the world from their bedrooms, witness both Zuckerberg and Wikileaks’ Julian Assange.
It’s still just 2010, but I’ll say it anyway: when we put together our lists of the best movies of the decade in 2019, The Social Network is going to rank very high. By then we may already have forgotten Facebook and moved on to other social media. But the movie will remain – excellent, provoking, entertaining as hell.